who WE are
portraits of Missouri’s marginalized communities, a project
Produced by Valérie Berta-Torales
The WE project is a series of portraits of people belonging to marginalized communities (people of color, L.B.G.T. people, immigrant and refugees, religious minorities and people with disabilities, among others) in Missouri. These communities share a history of systemic and pervasive discrimination, and with the rise in extremism since 2016 it has become urgent that they be seen and celebrated and that they enjoy their rightful place within the tapestry of our humanity.
In addition to shining a spotlight on people belonging to vulnerable communities, the WE project seeks to help bridge the gaps between these otherwise disparate communities by bringing them together in intersectional dialogue (there is also a monthly meeting of WE project participants) and to engage the community at large in a necessary conversation about diversity and equity. In accepting each other in our differences we are all stronger.
The portraits are taken against a neutral background in studio as a formal way of underlining our common humanity. I am asking of each person to submit a personal statement (whose format can range from a poem to a song to a personal narrative, or even artwork) about who they are, framed within the sense of their belonging to one, or more, of these marginalized communities and what it means to them.
This is who WE are: we are the people.